Wednesday, February 24, 2010

WHITE COAT RUFFIAN


I am a Dentist. Or at least I used to be. Five years of Dental School in Bangalore encompassed many instances of mental & physical exhaustion. It was daily parlance to try avoiding the whiplash of the professors' acerbic tongue, as well as to crave the warmth of the patients' gratitude. I guess that's what kept me going in those formative years - the smile of relief of our subjects and the attainment of the elusive title of Doctor. I was to leave to pursue higher Dental studies in the United States in the month of September, 2007. Indian Idol happened and my life as we know it strapped up & went for a roller-coaster ride. Looking over my shoulder, it seems like another lifetime altogether.

Now no more a practicing Dentist, I came across a moment of nostalgia while visiting my college mates in the same country I was supposed to continue my studies in. "Pal bhar ke liye koi humein pyaar kar le, jhoothaa hi sahi", so goes the popular Dev Anand song. And pal bhar ke liye I became the jhootha Dentist in the NYU College of Dentistry., donning the flowing white coat, mouth mask & gloves once again. The dam of restraint crumbled to pieces and memories of dental school came flowing back. And with the memories came the realisation that being a Doctor has always been tough (for obvious reasons). Tougher still, is being subjected to the same things we put patients through when we ourselves become patients - sticking needles, making incisions, stiching them up and the like, promising them that "it won't hurt a bit". Nine out of ten times it really doesn't, thanks to better training & advanced anesthesia. But we all know that battles are often lost in the mind, and pre-emption of pain is something the best anesthesia in the world can't wish away. A simple procedure like administering an injection or something more mentally stressful like suturing of a wound creates a mountain out of an otherwise painless molehill. It's easy for us to say nice things to our patients to placate them & to prepare them for a procedure, but a good Doctor would be one who can gauge both sides of the coin, i.e. understand the plight of the patient & genuinely show the necessary concern but at the same time remember that not every act is possible in a humane manner. For which, I'm forever grateful to my patients who helped me learn and let me help them. Ah, but I'm wavering from the nostalgia sitting like a morning mist over my thoughts :)

As I walked around in the corridors of NYU, I saw apparitions, phantasms. It wasn't my mind playing tricks; rather the sweet, disconnected sterile smell of the hospital triggering a series of suppressed memories - of friends, professors, laughter, patients, mad rushes, joy & despair in a similar, sterile corridor half a world away. I've heard that my hospital has changed; that the faces of the walls & of those I knew are no more the same. But memories are strange bedfellows. They leave you when you're in a crowd, surround you in your solitude & refuse to change one bit. Never had I known that six years of my life as a Doctor could flash by the mind's eyes in so mercurial a manner, and I wouldn't have it any other way...

14 comments:

  1. yes, memories are tough friends. Just when you wantt o forgetsomething, you remember it all the more, and when you want to remember something, like someone's face or someone's words, it starts fading, over a period of time, just words remain the details fade. In the end you just have to accept that memories whether making there presence felt or not are always there. They make a great part of who we are.

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  2. Gr8! u cudn't time this better. I just happened to pop a painkiller to subside the killer pain my molar is giving me! Ouch!

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  3. :)
    Nostalgia in the air. . . :)
    It is always nice to connect to memories; whether fond or bitter. They behave in an extremely crazy way; but in the end, it leaves you thinking. You notice how life changed, how times changed and over the period of time, how you changed. And that's probably the best part. Because you experience glee, you have those stale tears, you reminisce and cherish those times; but you silently laugh at yourself saying: Time flies by. Time truly heals.
    Memories make this faith stronger each time they knock the doors of your mind.
    Hence, the morning mist doesn't fade away soon; because ultimately they're Memories:

    "Few sweet Moments -
    Etched in the heart."

    Lovely post Meiyang. Takes me to a new journey, a new plight where I fly away light! You always inspire.
    Keep the Charm.

    Love,
    yours always,
    niyati :)

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  4. I love my dentist!! I went for years without a good one but my dentist now is nice and kind.

    He fixed my broken tooth and helped me with a teeth-grinding problem.

    Hooray for dentists!

    (Maybe you can make a film about one...!)

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  5. awwwwww...

    shweeet :))

    but dentists are really scary -__-

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  6. Dear Chang, going back to the past is really like a dream and sometime it is really an inexpressible feeling.
    When I saw you in your medical coat, my memory went to several years back to my student life at HKU. So, I have something to say about dentists. Before I got my tooth filled by a dentist for the first time in my life at the dental unit of the University of Hong Kong, I didn't know about the great service rendered by dentists in the world. Having seen the dental radiograph taken by him I was shocked because I never thought that my tooth had damaged that much. I was very thankful to that young doctor very much and still I am very grateful to him. He treated me well so that I could protect my tooth which was about to lose forever.
    Dentists are magnificent gods who help us to keep our smile. So, Chang you are one of those magnificent living gods. Though you are not showing that miracle now, once in your life you were used to be. You had such a special magic to bring back the losing smile into many faces. I have a doubtful feeling whether we lost a magnificent ‘dentist god’ but at the same time I feel that it’s good that you became an artist because it is extremely difficult to find a talented artist among thousands of dentists and millions of people. So, you are unique DENTARTIST who turned to be an ARTIST. What a great soul you are! I am always proud about you though I am not an Indian. However, my thankful words to the kind hearted dentist who is always living in Chingoo Mingoo.

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  7. to talk about you is like living a life everytime
    i do agree that the multi facet guy you are ................. time is short
    but its like you are able to find 48 hrs in 24
    14 days in a week a decade in one year
    you get time to do everything ......... in itself is ...................... hats off
    you have gone to top but your feets are solidly grounded
    i havent seen a better guy..................

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  8. Anonymous4:02 PM

    Meiyang,

    You are really a prolific writer - who not only write beautifully in words but also keep intact the nostalgic feelings and emotions vividly in the article.

    Please continue to write and let those of us here who adore you to continue to read your writings from time to time.

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  9. Dentist huh????

    Ha ha ha ....

    Sambhal ke bhai.... dar lag raha hai...

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  10. Anonymous8:55 PM

    heyyyy its nice to b a dentist...once u relieve the patient of the pain u feel so relaxed...n so proud of urself dat u helped smbdy ease the pain..bt wen the whole thng gets jumpled up n u get a complication in d case dats wen u hav to decide to hold on or quit...i cn say cz im a dentist too...i love dentistry as long as all izz well....bt wen i get caught n sm untoward response comes up...i give up n say....im nt meant fr dis haahhaha

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  11. Chhavi6:45 PM

    Wow this was a divine reading for me!! I loved your blog and all that you've written. I found this piece the best until now. :) (I've read just a few posts tho !!!) Keep the thoughts coming..!

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  12. Dear Meiyang,

    We at Spring Box Films Pvt Ltd are making a twenty-six episode serial on communities and their food & culture in India. Each episode of the show will explore the cuisine of a particular community through the eyes of the people who eat it. For each episode we will shoot with one family at their home and speak to them about their food and culture.
    We would really appreciate if you could represent yourself and your family from the Chinese Indian Community and talk about your food culture on television. Itll be a great opportunity for people to know about you and connect with you.
    The series is a also a great medium to get more people to know about your community and its food.
    To know more about us go to our website www.springboxfilms.com
    I hope to hear from you soon.

    With regards,
    JISHI JACOB
    Spring Box Films
    Ph – 011- 26342797
    Mob – 9873358311, 9811024736
    e-mail – jishijacob@yahoo.com, yasmin.kidwai@gmail.com

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  13. Anonymous9:28 PM

    yesterday i watched your performance in 'jalak dikhla ja'. it was really nice.I became your fan from the day i saw you singing 'halka halka sa ye nasha'. it was your 1st performance. then i was a college student. now i am learning dentistry in a privet dental college in Bangladesh. it was my oral anatomy exam today. my performance was really poor and disappointing. i needed some mental boost-up to prepare myself for next exam. then i started searching for your blog, because you are a dentist and to me you are a icon of positive attitude, confident and a determined person. may Almighty bless you with success in every step of your life.

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  14. Not sure if you were planning to go to NYC pre Indian Idol, but if you were, we probably would have met on the flight or city..:P. I left for NYC at the same time! Which is why I never heard of you till 2013. Thanks for keeping this blog to the best of your ability. Its good to know the process of fame and how fate works in crazy ways. And to think we keep making all these long drawn plans...:D

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